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Rost’s Seahawks Takeaways: Pair of players quietly vital to 12-win season

Benson Mayowa had six sacks in 13 games for the Seahawks after rejoining the team. (Getty)

The Seahawks wrapped up their regular season with a win over the 49ers and now head into the Wild Card weekend with a game against another divisional foe.

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Before we take a look forward, here are a few final takeaways coming out of Week 17:

Don’t count Tyler Lockett out.

Look, no defensive coordinator has forgotten about Lockett, but DK Metcalf has stolen the spotlight as Seattle’s next star. A big reason was the receiving yards per game Metcalf was seeing, particularly earlier this year. He finished with five games of 100 or more yards on his way to setting a new franchise record for single season receiving yardage (1,303). Another reason is insanely athletic displays like this, so it’s hard to fault anyone for being in awe.

Meanwhile, Lockett finished with just two games of 100-plus yards and had only one touchdown from Weeks 8-16. He still finished the season ranked 13th in the NFL in targets (132), eighth in receptions (100), and importantly 35th in dropped passes per target though, and he was the Seahawks’ most reliable receiver against San Francisco, making 12 catches on 14 targets for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Those 12 catches also helped him set the franchise record for receptions in a season.

Receptions without eye-popping stats rarely draw an extended look from a national audience, but that says less about Lockett and more about the limited ways in which we evaluate receivers. He didn’t finish the season with top-five yardage but Lockett once again proved himself to be Russell Wilson’s most reliable target.

The Seahawks have too many offensive weapons to have starts like this.

Speaking of Metcalf and Lockett, there was a weird juxtaposition Sunday. On a day when Seattle’s top two receivers each set franchise records, the offense also had one of its most lethargic first-half outings of the year. After two quarters, Seattle had just 106 net yards and six points. Things didn’t get much better in the third quarter when Russell Wilson went 0 for 4 and running back Chris Carson netted just 2 yards. They then hit the gas in the fourth quarter with 171 net yards and three touchdowns.

That was enough to put the game away versus a good 49ers defense, but what happens when Seattle struggles early against a more balanced team with a more productive offense? A slow start feels like a recipe for disaster against a team like New Orleans or Green Bay, the two teams seeded ahead of the Seahawks in the NFC playoffs, both of which are in the top five in points per game.

The moment every Seahawks fan’s heart stopped.

There were probably a few of these – hello fourth-down touchdowns – but no playoff team wants to see a star injured in Week 17, and that’s exactly what happened for the Seahawks when safety Jamal Adams was ushered to the sideline in the third quarter.

Here’s what we know: Adams hurt his opposite shoulder this time around (not the shoulder he injured earlier this season) but hasn’t been ruled out for Wild Card weekend.

Here’s what we don’t know: What the revamped Seahawks’ pass rush will look like without him.

Adams missed a month earlier this season, so we’ve seen this defense without him, and Seattle’s defensive turnaround coincided with the return of Adams and the debut of pass rusher Carlos Dunlap. The Seahawks should be able to handle the Rams’ offense without their sack leader, but should they advance, things will get tougher against better offenses.

Credit to Benson Mayowa.

Through no fault of his own, Mayowa signing with Seattle wasn’t greeted with a ton of fanfare – that’s mostly because fans were hoping for news on Jadeveon Clowney. Mayowa was coming off a seven-sack season, but that was also a career-high since he was primarily a situational pass rusher. So, credit Mayowa after a productive season as part of Seattle’s defensive line rotation. He finished with six sacks – just one sack shy of last year’s total – and two forced fumbles despite missing three games due to injury.

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